When in Rome (When in Rome album)

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When in Rome
When in Rome album.jpg
Studio album by When in Rome
Released 3 May 1988
Genre New wave, synthpop
Length 37:41 (US)
45:24 (UK)
Label Virgin Records

Michael Brauer
Ben Rogan
Richard James Burgess[1]

Singles from When in Rome
  1. "The Promise"
    Released: 1987 / 1988
  2. "Heaven Knows"
    Released: 1988 (U.S.) / 1989 (UK)
  3. "Everything"
    Released: 1989
  4. "Sight of Your Tears"
    Released: 1990

When in Rome is the self-titled debut album of English dance group When in Rome. It was the only studio album by the band to date.

Released in 1988, the album contained the song "The Promise", which was the group's biggest hit. The album peaked at #84 on the Billboard 200 and is currently the band's only album, studio or otherwise.


In an article and interview published in the Evening Times on 18 March 1988, under the headline "No Roman holiday", the band spoke of the upcoming album, where the article noted they were all confident about the forthcoming album. Michael Floreale stated: "It will probably be June or July before it comes out. Ben Rogan was great to work with - his ideas on the backing tracks were quite complimentary to our own. The songs are the best from our first couple of years, so whenever the album comes out they should still stand up as songs. We just want to be able to sell enough copies of our first album to be offered the chance to do another one."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by When in Rome (Clive Farrington, Michael Floreale, Andrew Mann).

  1. "The Promise" - 3:40
  2. "Heaven Knows" - 3:56
  3. "Something Going On" - 3:35
  4. "I Can't Stop" - 3:44
  5. "If Only" - 4:08
  6. "Sight of Your Tears" - 3:34
  7. "Wide, Wide Sea" - 4:05
  8. "Child's Play" - 4:00
  9. "Total Devotion" - 3:05
  10. "Everything" - 4:00

The UK CD release also included "Big City" as track 6, and "Whatever the Weather" as track 11, displacing the list accordingly.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars[3]
Daily Union mixed[4]
Kentucky New Era mixed[5]

William Cooper of Allmusic summed the album up by stating, "Like many one-hit wonders of the '80s, When in Rome failed to maintain the momentum set by its only hit song by releasing a dud of an album. 'The Promise', the opening track on When in Rome, starts things off nicely, but the remainder of the album is embarrassingly weak. 'The Promise' is the only When in Rome track anyone really needs, and it is available on a variety of '80s hits compilations."[6]

On 22 January 1989, a review of the album was published in the daily issue of the Daily Union. The review, under the headline "When in Rome mostly empty-headed pop drivel", stated: "This self-titled debut record from a trio of Englishmen sounds like a lot of today's pop music: synthesizer-based, danceable and rather empty-headed. When in Rome is the nom de guerre of vocalist Andrew Mann, bassist-vocalist Clive Farrington and keyboardist Michael Floreale. On their album, the three are joined by a host of session musicians who chime in on percussion, guitars, keyboards and horns. The songs center around Floreale's multi-faceted keyboards and the dual vocals of Farrington and Mann. The two singers harmonize perfectly, singing lead vocals together on nearly every tune. The music is generally bright and perky, sort of what the Pet Shop Boys probably sound like when they've had too much coffee. In fact, the bubbly, bongo-based percussion often reminds the listener of one of those percolating coffee pots. 'The Promise', a hit in the United Kingdom, is typical. Starting with a piano that picks out the melody, the song throbs along electronically with clear harmonies of Mann and Farrington piercing through the catchy melody. Most of the record thumps along in this vein, although on Side 2 there is a greater reliance on real instruments (as opposed to their synthesizer-produced imitations) that makes things more interesting."[4]

On 13 January 1989, a review of the album was published in the Kentucky New Era under the headline "Record reminds listener of 'perculating' kettle". This article used the same review as would be published in the Daily Union, by Curt Anderson, however with an extended section. This following section stated: "'Child's Play' sports a clean trumpet solo over the vocal duet, while 'Total Devotion' is a fast-paced rave-up with a real rock 'n' roll piano solo and some full-throated sax licks. All in all, When in Rome makes hip-sounding dance music that probably will blast out of speakers at college parties around the country. The group, however, has little to say - lyrically or musically - and their debut album just glides along the mainstream like driftwood."[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
Swedish Albums Chart[7] 42
U.S. Billboard 200 Chart[8] 84


When In Rome[edit]

  • Clive Farrington: Vocals
  • Andrew Mann: Vocals
  • Michael Floreale: Keyboards

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Maxi Anderson, Rose Stone: Backing Vocals
  • J.J. Belle, Michael Thompson: Guitars
  • Phil Spalding: Bass
  • Richard James Burgess, Mike Timoney: Keyboards
  • David Ervin: Keyboards, Drum Programming
  • Preston Heyman: Drums
  • Martin Ditcham, Robin Jones: Percussion
  • Tony Charles: Steel Drums
  • Mark Chandler, Richard Edwards, Kevin Robinson: Brass
  • Ian Gardiner: Brass Arrangements
  • Nick Ingman: String Arrangements
  • Larry Stabbins: Saxophone


  • Produced By Michael Brauer & Ben Rogan
  • Engineers: Chris Fuhrman, Teri Reed
  • Assistant Engineers: Martin Horenburg, Alex Rodriquez
  • Mixing: Michael Bauer
  • Mastering: Tom Baker, Dan Hersch


  1. ^ "When In Rome - When In Rome at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  2. ^ Evening Times - Google News Archive Search
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ a b Daily Union - Google News Archive Search
  5. ^ a b Kentucky New Era - Google News Archive Search
  6. ^ Cooper, William. "When in Rome - When in Rome : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "When In Rome - When In Rome". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  8. ^ When in Rome. "When in Rome - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-08.